Rappers have a long complicated history with religion. Tupac Shakur was depicted slain on a cross on the cover of his “Makaveli” album. In 1999, Nas sparked ire when he was nailed to a cross in the video for “Hate Me Now.” Jay-Z, who has an affinity for religious fashion, goes by the alias “Jay Hova.”
Ghostface Killer released a song called “Black Jesus” in 1996, and still refers to himself by that moniker. Kanye West, who posed on the cover of Rolling Stone with a crown of thorns, recorded one of the most popular religious rap hits to date, “Jesus Walks.” More recently, Meek Mill released a song called “Amen” and Rick Ross titled his mixtape, “Black Bar Mitzvah,” and plastered a Star of David on the cover.
The Game is the latest to tap into his religious side. For his upcoming album, entitled “Jesus Piece,” the rapper features a portrait of Jesus with a teardrop tattoo under his eye, a Jesus piece around his neck, and red bandanna over his mouth. Both the tattoo and bandanna are gang-affiliated.
The Game says the album is “about loving God and understanding life and what we’re here for,” but how is that message conveyed through a religious figure covered in gang paraphernalia?
Many see the cover as offensive and a sheer cry for attention and controversy. The Game’s alleged message of spiritual discovery isn’t resonating as a result.